Anxiety in the Classroom and Intervention
The 21st century classroom is in many ways, an advanced arena for students to learn and explore in. Technological advances have served to enrich the classroom experience and educated instructors provide a strong conduit to deliver information to their students. However, despite all these advances and levels of understanding, there are still areas that are shrouded in mystery concerning students and behavioral issues that might impact their learning. This is the case with students that suffer from social anxiety or a general shyness/introversion. These issues frequently affect a student’s ability to perform in the classroom and can directly affect their academic and social achievements.
Anxiety and/or shyness/introversion can be very difficult for a student to navigate the classroom experience with. There is the endless worrying and fear of “messing up” or not performing adequately when called upon. Students that would otherwise excel, find themselves falling short of scholastic achievements because of feelings of inadequacy or concerns about their abilities. Educators and parents/guardians don’t always know what to do to help students that are struggling on an emotional level, it can be much more complex than if a student doesn’t understand the formula for a math problem or if they need assistance in spelling a certain word. Anxiety provokes students and elicits responses that may make the child act or behave differently around their instructors, peers, family members, and other individuals they may come across. They may let their grades slip in order to blend in the background and not be called upon. If they don’t understand the material, they might be less inclined to reach out for fear of judgment. These children can slip through the cracks of well-meaning instructors and parents/guardians.
For a long time, students that are anxious and/or shy/introverted were in a sense, second class citizens in the classroom. I know, because I have been one of them. It is easy for the anxious student to fall to the wayside of louder, more interactive classmates. I was one of those students that found myself “unable to cope or manage” in the classroom. (Headley, 2013) I dreaded being called on in class and abject fear would cause me to not do as well as I realistically could have socially and academically. As I grew up, I have seen this behavior in children I have worked with, children that could be considered “wallflowers.” It is my hope as an educator to reach these students and help them, so they may feel they belong and are not “looking in from the outside.”
Hopefully, by looking into the symptoms of social anxiety as well as shyness/introversion, educators and parents/guardians will be able to identify problematic behaviors and symptoms and adjust the classroom environment to acclimate the needs of the student so that they may pursue academic ventures and obtain success.
Forms of Data/Value of Data
- Upon identifying social anxiety and/or shyness/introversion in my action research students, will implementing anxiety relieving strategies in the classroom to accommodate them help students achieve success?
- With cooperative efforts with parents/guardians outside of the classroom did all students show growth? Was there any regression observed? Were there any variables that were observed that were not otherwise anticipated, recorded, or planned for?
- What are the recommended treatment options for students with social anxiety and/or shyness/introversion?
The initial step is to gather general statistics and data about the students that will be involved in this study. This can include, but is not limited to: age, gender, racial background, etc. Researcher and educator will review student’s records before bringing in parents/guardians to discuss any problematic/worrying behaviors and withstanding issues. Students will then be interviewed, and all will be asked to fill out a questionnaire. One for parents/guardians, one for educators, one for students. With this data in hand, we can really begin.
Students will be observed in the classroom environment for no less than two weeks to establish any patterns and triggering behaviors. Once the initial two weeks have passed, the data will be reviewed. From visible patterns, educators and parents/guardians will create a plan to implement in the next two weeks to attempt to assuage concerns, assist students in building self-esteem and confidence in the classroom, and assist educators in better reaching these students. At the end of each week, students will be interviewed and then asked to fill out a questionnaire about how these changes are helping or not helping them. Instructors will do the same and reflect on how the student has or has not altered behavior, seen positive or negative change, if any unexpected variables are taking place, and if the plan is also beneficial to them on an educational level. Students will take an assessment, to establish base-line performance under naturally occurring stressors in the classroom.
After this, a more customized approach will take place for each student based on their specific needs. If necessary, there will be therapeutic intervention by a certified professional outside of the classroom. Unexpected variables will be addressed. Continuing problematic behavior will be addressed. At the end of the fifth week, the student interview and questionnaire will take place alongside the educator interview and questionnaire. The sixth week will require the student to return to the initial assessment and upon retaking, researchers can evaluate if there has been success in this area as well as the areas of: social interaction, classroom discussion, assignments, interaction with parent/guardian, interaction with educator, self-esteem and confidence, and scholastic achievement. Using data retrieval, questionnaires, observations, interviews, and other methods will be able to provide the most well-rounded option for the intervention itself.
Data Collection Procedures
|Research Questions||Data Collection Tool||Why this tool? Justify its use inyour study. How does it match to what you are attempting to find and to measure?||Timeframe: How and When data will be collected|
|1. Upon identifying social anxiety and/or shyness/introversion in my action research students, will implementing anxiety relieving strategies in the classroom to accommodate them help students achieve success?||Research, Case Studies, Statistics, Treatment Options||Once social anxiety and/or shyness/introversion has been identified, it is important to be able to consult the facts to assist students in achieving success. This includes understanding the current research and data on the subject; learning about existing case studies, the statistics of implementing anxiety relieving strategies, and recommended treatment options by professionals.||Week 1 Data Collection|
|2. With cooperative efforts with parents/guardians outside of the classroom did all students show growth? Was there any regression observed? Were there any variables that were observed that were not otherwise anticipated, recorded, or planned for?||Observation||Once implementing the techniques learned, it is important for educators and parents/guardians to observe how these methods are helping the student. Are they moving forward and progressing as expected? Are there elements that were not expected occurring?||Week 2-6Data CollectionObservationInterventionInterviewQuestionnaire|
|3.What are the recommended treatment options for students with social anxiety and/or shyness/introversion?||Case Studies, Research||Once a student is diagnosed with social anxiety and/or shyness/introversion, what are the options that educators and parents/guardians have at their disposal? Understanding what can be done to help is the first step in assisting students in achieving success.||Week 2-3After diagnosis, data collection, plan will be implemented|